Re-released in January 2012, Invisible Boy is a new paperback version of Cornelia Read’s third novel: A captivating thriller happening in Manhattan. I hadn’t read any of Cornelia’s books previously and the following praise for the book on Publisher’s Weekly made me curious:
“In her superb third novel… Read expertly evokes the New York City of the period, from the nearly palpable grime of Chelsea to disturbing undertones of racism and classism in the justice system. Equal parts toughness and vulnerability, Madeline is always a bracing heroine.”
In the story, the runaway socialite Madeline Dare is shocked when she discovers the skeleton of a brutalized three-year-old boy in her own weed-ridden family cemetery outside Manhattan. Determined to see that justice is served, she finds herself examining her own troubled personal history, and the sometimes hidden, sometimes all-too-public class and racial warfare that penetrates every level of society in the savage streets of New York City during the early 1990s.
This is a well written book and we enjoyed reading it. However, we first picked up this book with the expectation that the mystery elements were going to be stronger. We did not find that to be the case: To be more specific, this book is more of a courtroom drama. In a typical murder mystery, the reader is usually presented with a series of suspects and follows the hero or heroine to determine the identity of the killer. In this story the perpetrators are identified in the beginning and the story is more about whether or not they will escape justice.
Madeline Dare is an interesting protagonist and we liked the character: She is the sort of the hero who makes mistakes and misses stuff, but has a good heart and her intentions are right. Overall, it was nice to follow her through this drama and I am looking forward to reviewing Read’s future stories featuring this character.